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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Italian Bonanno family come from? What is the Italian Bonanno family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bonanno family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bonanno family history?

From the historical and enchanting Italian region of Tuscany emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Bonanno family. During the Middle Ages, as populations grew and travel between regions became more frequent, the people of Tuscany found it necessary to adopt a second name to identify themselves and their families. The process of adopting fixed hereditary surnames was not complete until the modern era, but the use of hereditary family names in Italy began in the 10th and 11th centuries. Italian hereditary surnames were developed according to fairly general principles and they were characterized by a profusion of derivatives coined from given names. Although the most common type of family name found in Tuscany is the patronymic surname, which is derived from the father's given name, the nickname type of surname is also frequently found. Nickname surnames were derived from an eke-name, or added name. They usually reflected the physical characteristics or attributes of the first person that used the name. The surname Bonanno is a name for a fortunate person having derived from the words buon, which means good, and anno, which means year, combined to mean good year.

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There are many variations of most of those Italian names that originated in the medieval era. Some of these come from regional differences, like the tradition of ending northern names in "o" and southern names in "i". Others come from inaccuracies in the recording process, which were extremely common in the eras before dictionaries standardized spelling. Some of the spelling variations of Bonanno are Bonanno, Bonanni, Buonanno, Buonanni, Bonano, Bonan and many more.

First found in Pisa, where in 1130 a Bonanno was a prominent intellectual. Bonanno who was a painter, sculptor, and architect, and who is famous for the bronze doors of the Cathedral in Pisa which he finished in the 12th century. Another of his accomplishments is the leaning tower at Pisa, which he constructed with Gugliemo Tedesco in 1174.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bonanno research. More information is included under the topic Early Bonanno History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 181 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bonanno Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Bonanno:

Bonanno Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Angela Bonanno, aged 52, who arrived in America from Regalbuto, Italy, in 1904
  • Alfio Bonanno, aged 23, who arrived at New York from Roccella, Italy, in 1910
  • Andrea Bonanno, aged 44, who arrived in America from Messina, Italy, in 1912
  • Angela Bonanno, aged 38, who arrived in New York from Salina, Italy, in 1912
  • Alfio Bonanno, aged 24, who emigrated to America from Catania, Sicily, in 1912


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  • Jesse Bonanno (b. 1983), American rock singer-songwriter
  • George A. Bonanno, American professor of clinical psychology
  • Margaret Wander Bonanno (b. 1950), American science fiction writer, ghost writer and small press publisher
  • Joseph Charles Bonanno Sr. (1905-2002), Sicilian-born American mafioso
  • Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, American poet, teacher, and contributing editor to The American Poetry Review


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  1. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial Général by J.B. Rietstap. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today, 1967. Print. (ISBN 0-0900455-209).
  2. Di Crollalanza, G.B. Dizionario Storico-Blasonico Delle Famiglie Nobili e Notabili Italiane 3 volumes. Pisa. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Rome Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana 56 volumesr. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Gheno, Antonio. Contributo alla Bibliografia Genealogica Italiana. Bologna: Forni, 1924. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Fucilla, Josheph G. Our Italian Surnames. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0806311878).
  10. Di Crollalanza, Goffredo. Enciclopedia araldico cavalleresca Prontuario nobiliare. Pisa: Presso La Direzione Del Giorale Araldica , 1878. Print.
  11. ...

The Bonanno Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bonanno Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 June 2014 at 20:09.

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